Unless you’ve been off-grid, without internet access, over the last week or so – you’re bound to have noticed that search engine giant is looking a little different these days. The brand, which has now restructured into the holding company Alphabet, has launched a new look and a new logo. But is this just an example of attractive artwork, or does it mean a whole lot more from a branding perspective?
Fast Company’s Mark Wilson, speaking in a Slate article, has pointed out that Google’s new sans serif font is actually easier to read when displayed on a smaller screen, such as that of a smartphone or tablet. So it seems the search engine is adapting its digital marketing to the mobile age, and other brands are bound to follow suit. There is also another part of the logo to get excited about, the new four-colour ‘G’ symbol that stands in for the full logo when compacted or on mobile screens. Google has always been exceptional at extending a consistent brand image across all formats and platforms, and the new ‘G’ is a welcome addition to the family.
Users of the search engine will notice that the new logo doesn’t simply sit there looking pretty – it is also animated when the user access different search functions. When you begin a voice search, the logo morphs into dots which undulate in anticipation of your query, then they act as an equaliser graphic as you speak. While the engine searches for results, the dots return and spin until the results are presented, when the logo goes back to normal again. Just a clever gimmick? Will Oremus, senior technology writer at Slate, doesn’t think so. He explains:
“Google’s logo change is emblematic of the Web’s broader move from static, skeuomorphic, “page”-based design to something more fluid and adaptable. For better or worse, dancing logos could become as much a fabric of the mobile Internet as responsive design and autoplay videos.
“In Google’s case, the animation is meant as a visual cue that something is happening: speakers listening, cloud servers processing.”
It would be very easy for brands, who are always looking to take their cues from innovators such as Google and Apple, to misinterpret functions like the new animation. Some will undoubtedly use ‘dancing logos’ simply to get users’ attention, when in Google’s case – it’s actually all about efficiency, where the movement indicates that a function is being performed. This all fits snugly with Google’s image and ethos as a fast, efficient, reliable innovator. In practical terms, brands can also take inspiration from the improved legibility of the logo’s font when shrunk to smaller screens – mobile is most definitely the future of internet, so brands must take similar steps to avoid being left behind.
What do you think of the new logo? Do you see it as just a logo, or an example of great branding and innovation in action? We’d love to hear your thoughts.